BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
Barcelona spurned the chance to go top of the table on Thursday as a shock 2-1 defeat by Granada added another twist to La Liga’s most unpredictable title race in years.
Barca could have taken control at the top by moving a point ahead of Atletico Madrid but Granada came from behind to snatch a stunning win at Camp Nou, in what will be a huge boost to the other title contenders.
Lionel Messi scored his 33rd goal of the season to put Barcelona in front but they failed to put the result beyond doubt and Granada hit back, Darwin Machis driving in and Jorge Molina’s header completing a remarkable turnaround.
Defeat means Barca took nothing from their game in hand except disappointment, which might be difficult to shake ahead of two crunch games now away at Valencia and at home to Atletico Madrid.
They stay third, level on points with Real Madrid, as Atletico retain their two-point advantage at the top, while Sevilla in fourth remain just three points off first.
Any of the four contenders could be crowned champions next month, with all of the top three squandering opportunities to take the lead in the last week.
Real Madrid were held to a goalless draw by Real Betis on Saturday before Atletico failed to take advantage as they were beaten by Athletic Bilbao.
Those results opened the door to Barcelona, but now they too have stumbled.
Granada’s victory adds another significant chapter to what has been an incredible season for Diego Martinez’s side, who reached the Europa League quarter-finals earlier this month only to be beaten by Manchester United.
They close to within five points of Villarreal, with European qualification not yet out of sight.
It started well for Barcelona, who pulled in front in the 23rd minute, a delightful turn and pass by Antoine Griezmann allowing Messi to drive into the far corner from the angle.
The chances were there for a second, the best of them falling to Sergi Roberto, who volleyed over a cut-back from Frenkie de Jong, but Granada remained in touch.
Roberto Soldado might have equalised had he not opted to pass instead of shoot and then Marchis did, latching onto a superb pass by Luis Suarez and finishing past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Coach Ronald Koeman was sent to the stands for his protests and Gerard Pique almost turned in a Griezmann ball to the front post, after Messi’s free-kick had spun wide off the wall.
Instead, Granada came again, more good work from Suarez in midfield allowing Adrian Marin to cross into the box, where Molina did brilliantly to dip his head and glance the ball into the far corner.
Manchester United’s players have been nothing if not consistent in the semifinals of major tournaments over the past year and a half
Manchester United’s players have been nothing if not consistent in the semifinals of major tournaments over the last year and a half.
They have played in four, and they have lost in four.
No. 5 is coming up on Thursday when Roma visits Old Trafford for the first leg of the Europa League semifinals and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has reason to believe this time will be different.
“The players have had another year, they’re more experienced and they’ve come through some difficult times,” the United manager said. “And with the motivation of having those disappointments, I’m confident we’ll get a good performance.”
And it was a familiar story in January, when United was beaten 2-0 by City in a League Cup semifinal rematch.
The opponents have been tough, no doubt, but that hasn’t stopped United from collecting a reputation of choking on the big occasion under Solskjaer, who is still awaiting his first trophy since taking over as manager as the replacement for Jose Mourinho in December 2018.
Solskjaer has analyzed each of the losses in the semifinals and hasn’t spotted an obvious reason why United keeps falling short, except for the quality of the opposition.
Roma, which is seventh in Serie A, is probably the weakest team United has faced in this run of last-four meetings and Solskjaer insisted Wednesday he meant no disrespect when he said about the Italian team after the win over Granada in the quarterfinals: “I’ve not seen too much of them.”
Roma fans are using the words as ammunition for their team — posters have been put up around the city of Solskjaer, along with those comments — but the United manager downplayed it and said Roma was a “fantastic club with a great history.”
“I’ve actually got two prized possessions back home, a Totti shirt and a De Rossi shirt that I’ve swapped with them,” he said, referring to two of the greatest players in Roma’s modern history, Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi. “They’re actually signed, so I know about the history, I know about the quality.”
It is a rather fraught time at United, with fans protesting against the club’s ownership — the Glazer family — for its involvement in the plan to hatch a European Super League. That was quickly abandoned last week, but anti-Glazer sentiment has been reignited and it was put to Solskjaer that the achievement of winning the Europa League would be devalued in a sense because United’s owners don’t appear to care about the competition.
“I’ve had a very good relationship with the owners and with the club. They’ve employed me as manager, they listen to my views,” he said. “It’s my job to give my opinion and do the best for the club and for them.
“I’ve had so many years at the club, I’m looking forward to trying to bring success to the team. That’s my focus. Bringing fans, players and the club together.”
Southeast governors yesterday launched a regional security outfit codenamed Ebube Agu (the glory of a tiger) to battle rising insecurity.
They restated that open grazing remained banned and urged security agencies to enforce it.
The governors met in Owerri, the Imo State capital, with heads of security agencies in the region.
Acting Inspector-General Usman Baba sent a delegation comprising a Deputy Inspector-General and an Assistant Inspector-General.
The meeting was to evaluate the security situation and to strategise on how to tackle it.
Last Monday, gunmen attacked the police headquarters and the correctional centre in Owerri, setting 38 vehicles ablaze and freeing 1,844 inmates.
Police stations have come under attack in the five Southeast states, with many officers killed.
At the meeting were governors Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Willie Obiano (Anambra) and Imo State Hope Uzodimma, who was the host.
The governors condemned the attacks on police stations, correctional facility, and the unlawful release of inmates.
They said a committee made up of security personnel, government officials and relevant stakeholders will be set up to coordinate and monitor the implementation of Ebube Agu, with headquarters in Enugu.
The governors urged the IG to invite the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) “to find out the reason for increasing insecurity in the Southeast”.
They resolved to bring together all the arsenals at their command to fight and flush out criminals and terrorist from the zone.
They promised to back security agencies with all they need to make the onslaught against criminals successful.
Umahi, flanked by his brother — governors and the security chiefs, read a 15 – point communique of their resolution.
They resolved “to strongly and unequivocally condemn terrorism and banditry in any part of Nigeria, particularly in the Southeast.
“The meeting strongly condemns the burning of police stations, violent attacks on custodial centres with the unlawful release of inmates, and the killings, including security personnel, natives/ farmers and headsmen.
“The five Southeast states are on the same page with the Federal Government on the issue of security challenges in the country.
“To this end, the meeting makes it absolutely clear that the Southeast will stand resolutely with the Federal Government to fight terrorists and bandits to a finish.
“The political leadership in the Southeast has resolved to bring together all the arsenals at their command, as one united zone, to fight and flush out criminals and terrorist from the zone.
“To achieve this, there is a need to galvanise all the relevant stakeholders in the Southeast, the political class, the business community, the bureaucrats and the intelligentsia to provide all necessary support to security operatives in the five Southeast states to ensure total success in the fight against criminality in the zone.
“The heads of all the security agencies in the Southeast have resolved to exchange intelligence in a seamless, effective new order that will help to checkmate crime in the zone.”
To fast track crime-busting in the region, the governors mandated the heads of security agencies “to draw up a comprehensive list of their logistics and material needs for sustainable success in the fight against criminality for the immediate provision by the leadership of the Southeast”.
The communique adds: “The meeting resolved to maintain a joint security vigilante for the Southeast, otherwise known as Ebube Agu…to coordinate our vigilante in the Southeast.”
The governors requested the Acting IG to stop the influx of IG monitoring units but to allow commissioners of police and state and zonal commands to handle their cases.
“Meeting approves that the acting IG and other security chiefs do invite the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and CAN to find out the reason for increasing insecurity of the SouthEast.
“The meeting agreed that military policing in the Southeast should be adequately funded and become effective.
“The meeting agreed that open grazing has been banned and security agencies should implement the ban.
“The meeting encouraged a peaceful coexistence of farmers and herders to allow governors to succeed in the fight against criminality.”
A suspected drug trafficker, Okonkwo Chimezie Henry, has excreted 113 wraps of cocaine weighing 1.750 kg with a street value of N423 million.
This followed his arrest at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos on Easter Day, Sunday, 4th April, 2021, where he was headed for Madrid, Spain.
Director, Media and Advocacy, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Headquarters, Abuja, Femi Babafemi, disclosed this in a statement in Abuja yesterday.
The statement reads, “Okonkwo was about boarding a Turkish Airline flight number TK0626 at about 8pm when he was apprehended at screening 2 point and taken into custody by the NDLEA operatives at the Lagos airport. He was subsequently put under observation at the JBTF/NDLEA facility for further investigation.
“Twenty four hours after putting him under excretion observation, the suspect, who has been living in Spain for 10 years, excreted 39 wraps of cocaine and subsequently passed out a total of 113 wraps in five excretions. Further investigation reveals he ingested the illicit drug in a hotel in the Igando area of Lagos.”
The statement quoted the Commander, MMIA Command of the NDLEA, Ahmadu Garba, as saying, “the suspect excreted 39 wraps weighing 600 grammes at 9.58am on April 5; 13 wraps weighing 200 grammes at 6.30pm same day; 16 wraps weighing 250 grammes at 10.30pm same day; and 32 wraps weighing 500 grammes at 7.30am on April 6.”
Babafemi said operatives at the airport also intercepted a 2.8kg of skunk meant for Dubai in UAE through Emirate Airline.
“The illicit drug was concealed in crayfish, bitter leaves and melons packaged in a sack but was recovered at the SAHCO export shed of the MMIA, he said.
Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the NDLEA, Brig. General Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), in his reaction commended officers and men of the MMIA Command for not allowing criminal elements take advantage of the Easter holiday to further their illicit trade, and dent Nigeria’s image abroad.
The Federal Government on Friday stated work would soon begin on some selected rail projects for which contracts have been awarded.
The government listed some of the rail projects to include the Ibadan-Kano, Port Harcourt Maiduguri, Kano-Maradi and Lagos-Calabar rail lines.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed this while speaking in Abuja at the annual ministerial briefing on programmes, projects and activities of the Federal Ministry of Transportation and its agencies.
He was joined at the briefing by Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki.
The Minister said government has solved the financial problems associated with the rail projects.
Amaechi said: “We have awarded the following contracts and we are about to start and we have even tried to solve the financial problems. This is because we have the problem of having to hire consulting engineers.
“The ones we are about to start are Ibadan to Kano, that we are waiting for funds from China.
“We are about to start Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, we are waiting for the cabinet to approve consulting shares. We are also to start the Kano-Maradi and Lagos to Calabar.”
He added: “But one thing that is unique about these contracts is that the President early enough directed that all rail lines must stagnate at the sea ports.
“That is why there may be a bit of adjustment in the pricing of Kano-Maradi because we have to adjust it to link up to Kano-Lagos so that it can terminate at Lagos seaport.”
Amaechi said the 185.5km Lagos-Ibadan double standard gauge line with extension to Apapa seaport was nearing completion while the 186km Abuja-Kaduna and 302km Warri-Itakpe standard guage lines had been completed and were functional.
He frowned at the ticket racketeering perpetuated by some employees of the Nigeria Railway Corporation and directed the management of the NRC to deal decisively with anyone found culpable.
Amaechi, however, stated that with the introduction of the online ticketing system on the Abuja-Kaduna train service, the NRC had been able to raise its earnings by about N50m after deducting its operational cost.
On the refund of loan, the Minister said the government had “paid a total sum of N420.46m into the escrow account from revenue received from Abuja-Kaduna train services over the period of the ERGP (Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017-2020).”
In the recently published Forbes 100 Innovations, Inventions and Icons from Africa list is
Social media users have reacted to the award-winning singer, Davido topping Forbes 100 Innovations, Inventions, and Icons Africa list.
The Nation had earlier reported eleven notable Nigerians made Forbes 2021 Africa Icons’ list.
Among them Davido, who has been described as one of the most influential artists in Africa.
Forbes tweeted: “@Davido remains the Biggest, Best and the Most Influential person in African 30/30 GOAT.”
Meanwhile, fans on social media have expressed their delight with pride stating he remains the best in Africa and that was why Forbes Africa had to make him number one on their list.
@_Oyebolanle tweeted: “It’s #Davido topping Forbes African Icons of 2020 for me. Ori Ade Baba Imade.”
@symplyDAPO tweeted: “Even Ellen knows what’s up. The highlights of today goes to Ellen holding #davido “A Better Time” album.”
@Rozapepper said: “The Global Sensation – Davido, Tops the list of Forbes Africa Icons’ 2021 list. No Denial, Davido has been a real supporter of Young Upcoming Artistes in Africa. He is an inspiration to many young African artistes. Congrats King Davido #30BG.”
@AMMESOMATADO stated: “The social distancing Davido gave his mates on that Africa Forbes list is top-notch.”
@DeraNwako tweeted: “Just an early reminder that @davido is still the Biggest Artiste in Africa. Number 001 on Forbes 2021 Africa ICONS List. When I say he’s the Biggest, I ain’t capping.”
@Wytemajeke said: “When Forbes said “ #davido is without no doubt one of Africa’s the biggest musicians” I felt that.”
@GramKcee tweeted: “Forbes Africa Icons’ list, 2021 1 – DAVIDO 10 – Wizkid 15 -Burnaboy Afrobeat to the world.”
@temi_ofLagos tweeted: “-Davido tops list of Most Influential African -Davido is without a doubt one of Africa’s biggest musician according to FORBES Davido and Influence.”
The outgoing Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu has handed over to his successor Usman Alkali Baba.
The ceremony took place at the Force Headquarters, Abuja.
He handed over after Vice President Yemi Osinbajo decorated Baba with his new rank in the State House, Abuja.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday announced DIG Usman Alkali Baba as acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP).
According to the Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi, the appointment takes immediate effect.
The Yobe born Police chief has held several strategic positions in the past.
1. Usman Alkali was born on 1st March, 1963.
2. He hails from Geidam in Yobe State and has had meritorious years in the force.
3. He has also served in various capacities such as DIG Force CID and was also the Force Secretary at the Force Headquarters, Abuja.
4. He has served in various commands including Kaduna as the Deputy Commissioner, Administration; He was in FCT as the Deputy Commissioner, Investigation and was also in the staff college as a directing staff.
5. He was in Ilorin as an Area Commander. He was the second-in-command in Ebonyi, He was also an Assistant Commissioner, CID in Kaduna and before then was DPO (Divisional Police Officer) in various places like Yola, Gombe, Kaduna, and Jos.
6. He holds a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) Degree from the University of Maiduguri, Borno State 1997 and a BA (ED) Political Science from Bayero University, Kano State as well as Professional Courses/Workshop Institution.
The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has released the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for private candidates, 2021 – First Series.
Head of the Nigeria National Office, WAEC, Mr Patrick Areghan, told reporters on Tuesday the examination was primarily designed to help candidates seeking admission to tertiary institutions to reduce the waiting time for results and beat admission deadlines.
He said: “The analysis of the statistics of the performance of candidates shows that out of the Seven Thousand Two Hundred and Eighty-Nine (7,289) candidates that sat the examination:
“Two Thousand Nine Hundred and Thirty-Eight (2,938) candidates representing 40.31 per cent obtained credit and above in a minimum of any five subjects (with or without English Language and/or Mathematics; out of which One Thousand Three Hundred and Ninety-Six (1,396) were male and One Thousand five Hundred and Forty-Two (1,542) were female candidates, representing 47.52%and 52.48 % respectively;
“Two Thousand One Hundred and Ninety-Five (2,195) candidates representing 30.11 per cent obtained credits and above in a minimum of five (5) subjects, including English Language and Mathematics.
“Of this number, One Thousand and Seventy-Four (1,074) i.e. 48.93 per cent were male candidates, while One Thousand, One Hundred and Twenty-One (1,121) i.e. 51.07 per cent were female candidates. The percentage of candidates in this category in the WASSCE for Private Candidates, 2019 and 2020, that is, those who obtained credit and above in a minimum of five subjects, including English Language and Mathematics, were 26.08 per cent and 32.23 per cent respectively. Thus, there is a marginal decrease of 2.12 per cent in performance in this regards.”
Zinedine Zidane believes Real Madrid is being underrated ahead of the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Liverpool on Tuesday.
Madrid has endured a patchy season but remains alive in the Champions League and La Liga, with the gap to Atletico Madrid down to three points with nine games left.
And if they can overcome Liverpool, they will have a semi-final to come against either Chelsea or Porto and be within sight of a 14th European triumph.
“I think my team has been underestimated,” said Zidane in a press conference on Monday. “I trust my team a lot and I know what it can give. But we can’t change what people think. We can only work day by day and while there is still a chance, we never give up.
“We are going to fight for everything. We have had difficult moments this season and now we are better but it doesn’t mean anything tomorrow.”
Zidane raised the possibility of Eden Hazard being involved in the first leg in Madrid on Tuesday, even though the Belgian has missed the last three weeks with a pelvic injury. Hazard trained at Valdebebas on Monday morning.
“We have talked a lot about this, Hazard has to be calm. The important thing is that he has recovered,” said Zidane. “If the player is well, I want him with the team. We are going to do things little by little and we’ll see what happens.”
Madrid will be without their captain Sergio Ramos, who injured his calf on international duty last month with Spain.
Ramos played a key role as Real Madrid beat Liverpool in the Champions League final in 2018 after his challenge forced Mohamed Salah to be substituted in the first half.
“I know Sergio, he is a teammate, a friend,” said Madrid defender Nacho Fernandez. “It’s a shame, nobody likes to be injured in moments as important as this and even more so when you know Sergio, who is the captain.
“I’m sure that not just Salah but everyone from Liverpool will want to take revenge and win the game, just like us.”
Liverpool bounced back from their defeat in Kiev by winning the Champions League and Premier League over the next two seasons but, like Madrid, they have wavered since, falling behind Bayern Munich and Manchester City.
“We don’t think about the past,” said Zidane. “It’s a big game for them and it’s a different game from the final in Kiev. We’re preparing for a different game.”
“We are at a club where every day, every minute we live with pressure,” added Nacho. “We know how to handle it, we try to use it in the best possible way, which is to lift a trophy at the end of the season.”
Henry was a top insurance broker in Nigeria before he migrated to the United Kingdom (UK) for greener pastures on the crest of Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) visa. As a top flight insurance broker, he had everything going for him—decent accommodation, fairly good car, reward for good performance and opportunity to rise to higher positions in his organisation. But all that, for the young man, was inadequate.
He had read about how well insurance brokers are paid abroad and imagined how his life would change if he travelled out and earn a salary which when converted to naira would turn him into an instant millionaire. To actualise his dream, he quit his job and left for the UK with a promise to people he left behind that he would soon begin to send cars and hard currency to them.
On getting g to the UK, he tried his best to secure a job similar to the one he was doing in Nigeria but he could not get any. He found himself sweating in the cold temperature of the UK as he found himself unfit for the system. In the end, a friend got him a job as a security officer with a small private firm. Unfortunately, the pay was not enough for him to renew his HSMP visa even though it was better than what he earned in Nigeria.
In the end, the Home Office (HO) gave him 72 hours to leave the UK. But rather than comply, he simply changed his residential address and carried on with his job without informing his employer about the change in his staying status.
A friend to Henry said: “The HO Police went to the office of the security company where he worked after a deportation order was issued and a call was made to him to report in the office immediately. But someone in the office tipped him off about the presence of the police, so he managed to escape deportation.
“He was lucky to be off duty at the time the police visited. Otherwise, he would have been arrested and deported after serving a jail term for working without permit. His predicament has since caused him to go underground, looking for menial jobs and begging for charity.”
Yet as far as the young Nigerian was concerned, it was better to remain a wanderer in the UK than return to Nigeria empty handed to be taunted by friends and relations.
Like Henry, Bukky, an experienced nurse in a government owned hospital in Lagos, also quit her job to travel to the UK on the HSMP visa obtained with the help of a relative who qualified in the UK as a medical doctor.
As a nurse, she had read and heard how much her services would be needed and rewarded abroad. Without wasting time, she saved enough money and obtained a working visa. With the HSMP visa conditions, she was tied to four year visa with her employer – at Camberwell.
A friend of hers said: “In order to change her visa to permanent stay without restrictions, she needed to prove to the Home Office that she’s now ‘settled’ in the UK. As a result, she travelled back to Nigeria to arrange a marriage with an old boyfriend. All the expenses were borne by her.
“She subsequently obtained a visa for the ‘hubby’ and both of them travel to the UK, but the man could not get a job immediately. At a point the man became bored and started having affairs all over the place, flirting and visiting so many dating sites.
“Of course, their marriage crumbled, only for Bukky to realise that the husband actually had another wife and a child in Nigeria to whom he had been sending money to regularly from Bukky’s bank account.
“Bukky literally went ‘mental’. She lost her pregnancy and has not been herself since. She’s now recovering in a psychiatric home while the whereabouts of the husband is unknown.
“The only good thing is that the Home Office has allowed her to stay in the UK permanently without any restrictions, and she is now waiting to become a full UK citizen. Will she ever go back to Nigeria? I doubt that very much. Not for another husband anyway.”
Bukky’s friend also shared the story of two Nigerian ladies who travelled to the UK on six-month tourist visas that could not be renewed.
She said: “Many Nigerians allow their tourist visas to expire without leaving the UK. And knowing that without their old passport the Nigerian Embassy in the UK, by law, cannot issue them ETC (emergency travelling certificate), they burn their passports and clone the identities of legal UK residents that they know. As things stand, many of them may not be able to visit their home country again.
“But the most tragic thing is that many of them are suffering and are at the mercy of other Nigerians in the Diaspora who have turned them into slaves of sorts. This is the story many Nigerians abroad would not tell their family members at home. To compound their problems, some embassies and high commission offices are not making things easy.”
In a viral video, the Nigerian High Commission in Atlanta Georgia, United States, was fingered as one of the places the issue of documentation and passport renewal are made difficult.
In the video, a Nigerian who was frustrated about the hurdles placed in the ways of Nigerians who want to renew their passports described the situation at the high commission as “chaotic”.
According to the man that speaks in the background of the video, the staff at the Nigerian High Commission, aside from collecting the passport application fee, would make Nigerians pay another 130 dollars.
“Nigerians have to stay in the sun outside the embassy disorganised dishevel, leave their homes, travel by flight and sleep in hotels. (They) spend about 1,500 dollars for this trip just because they want to renew their passports,” he said.
In comparison, he said, the citizens of a country like the Republic of Benin do not have to travel but only mail their passports.
“We must stop this. It is a fraud. Defrauding Nigerians in the name of ‘there is no money’ to run the embassy. Where has Nigeria’s money gone to? What happened to the budget?” he queried.
For many Nigerians who are living abroad illegally, returning home to settle down or visit family members could be a pipe dream. According to an immigration lawyer, the problem with most immigrants, especially those with multiple entry visas, starts when they want to work in the UK.
According to him, the visa confers on them the status of visitors who are not allowed to work. “Most Nigerian immigrants adopt other people’s names and use the documents of genuine citizens who are allowed to work. In most cases, when such a visitor is caught, the penalty is always grave. Unfortunately, most Nigerians who come as visitors always have it at the back of their minds to work in the UK.”
According to him, it is a bit better for those with multiple visas. But it is also a big risk. Most of them would come in, work and use the proceeds of their work to buy goods. He said what they normally do is to extend the visa for two or three years and they would start working.
“After a while, they go to the home office and change their status from being a visitor to that of a trader or a business person. But it is a big risk, because in the process of trying to gather money, nothing must go wrong. For those of them that managed to escape immigration, it is always neither here nor there because they would not want to come back to Nigeria because of the fear of being caught by the immigration at the airport.”
A Nigerian with dual citizenship who lives in the United Kingdom told The Nation that some Nigerians who are stranded in the country are sometimes assisted by people like him. But he said it could spell a disaster if they are caught.
He said: “If stranded Nigerians want to go out of the country (UK), what they normally do is to look for someone with both the Nigerian and the United Kingdom passports. The one with the UK and the Nigerian citizenship will buy the ticket in his own name, pretending that he is travelling to Nigeria, check in, collect the boarding pass or even travel together.
“The only snag is that you can’t use such in two places because the gate the foreigner will pass through is different from the gate the UK citizen would pass through. But as soon as the Nigerian gets to the airport, he would send the passport back to the UK.
“This costs a lot of money and it is a big racket here. They charge as much as £2,000. But if caught, the owner of such a passport could also go to jail. Though very risky, that is the only way those that had been stranded get out of the UK.
“Although using another person’s passport may be difficult, some who are not eligible to work also change their identity by using another person’s document to work. But this has its own challenge too as the salary or the wage is paid into the account of the owner of the identity. The real owner deducts his own commission at source and gives whatever they agreed on to the borrower of his identity.
“This has its own problem too because the owner of the identity could decide to be dubious. He may decide not to pay a dime to the person using his identity, knowing full well that the person would not be able to report.”
Speaking to The Nation, Susan, who has lived in the United Kingdom for six years, said she came to the country with a student visa. But after finishing her studies, she decided to stay and work and has been using another person’s identity. Suzan said: “I was employed by a Nigerian agent to work as a caregiver. Most times when it is time to pay, the owner of the agency, a woman, would have one reason or the other not to pay. She would tell you that if you are aggrieved, you may report to the police. It sucks. What can you do?”
Suzan said if she would be able to get a job in Nigeria where she would be able to earn N500,000 a month, she would definitely return home.
There is also the case of one Peter who travelled to the United Kingdom. At a point that things were getting difficult for him, he approached his friend who gave him his driver’s licence which he used to apply for a job in a supermarket.
He said: “It was my friend that applied for the job for me. He gave me his driver’s licence but warned me sternly that if I was caught he would deny me and tell the police that I stole his identity. He warned me not to use his identity to borrow from a bank or get into debt.”
Peter was lucky for two years, using his friend’s identity to work without paying a dime to the owner of the identity. He applied for asylum and for more than two years, he kept appealing. He had his documents in the home office and was eventually granted an asylum.
“I was just lucky. It is always sweet when you are not caught. I couldn’t see my family during that period because if I made any attempt to come to Nigeria, they would not allow me to return to the UK. It was traumatic.
But using another person’s identity brings a lot of trouble. A Nigerian living in Texas, Dele Peters, told The Nation how a Nigerian was caught using the identity of a dead person. The real owner of the identity is in Texas while the person that assumes the new identity lives in Ohio. “Unfortunately, the owner of the identity who lived in Texas died. But the one with a fake identity kept using the document of the dead person even when she knew that the owner of the identity was dead.
“Unfortunately, this country is wired. They knew that the real owner was dead but he was still paying tax. Everybody pays tax. So, if you work, your employer remits taxes on your behalf to the federal, state and county. That the name was dead in Texas and yet a company was remitting taxes on her behalf was a red flag.
“Of course, the impostor did not realise that this could be monitored. When the authorities went to check his place of work, they discovered that it was another person that was using the document. The fingerprint of the person using a dead person’s document was taken, so it became difficult for him to work again. Even if he wanted to work, it would be under the table,” he said.
According to Peters, the system is fashioned in such a way that if you are caught, you may be lucky not to be deported but it is the system that would render such a person useless. “You won’t be able to function if your name is flagged on employment issue, particularly if it is based on dishonesty,” Peter explained.
He said the good thing is that such a person could go back to Nigeria but it would be difficult to return to the United States.
According to him, there are many of them in different correctional centres in the United States due to some of the things we do at home that do not attract sanctions.
“Here, it is a big deal and you could be jailed for it,” he said.
According to him, having a relationship with a teenager, watching ponography at work may not attract much sanction in Nigeria, but in the United States, it is regarded as felony sexual conduct and this attracts serious sanction. “Ethically, it is wrong if you are as a nurse or a doctor to have porn on your phone. I know some Nigerians who were locked and had their licenses seized because of that.
“I know of someone here in this state. He was working with elderly people and the physically challenged. On duty he was watching porn. He left his phone because he needed to attend to an emergency. One of the physically challenged picked his phone and the first thing they saw on the phone was porn. That was a big error.
“He was prosecuted. He lost his licence and there was no way he would get a good job.
Fortunately for him, he ran to Canada because he is a citizen and reordered his life there.”
After returning from jail, such a person could be living on government benefits or foundation benefits. Such a person may not return to Nigeria because his record has been taken. And if he goes to Nigeria, he will not be allowed to return to the United States, except such a person is a citizen.
For some of them who are not citizens, they always prefer not to return to Nigeria because they would not be allowed entry into the country.
Peters also disclosed that some Nigerians deliberately prefer to be cab drivers because this gives them room to evade child support payment. “They know that if they do regular jobs, the government will continue to deduct their money from the source for child support. Some of them have two, three children outside without bothering to care for such children. In the real parlance, they have ‘baby mamas’ that they are not married to but have children with. If they are reported by the mother of their children, anywhere they work, their paychecks are always garnished.
“Quite a number of them do not like it. How do you make 6000 dollars a month and you can only have 400 dollars to show for it?”
“If you were married, doing well and all of a sudden, things started going south between the married couple, after divorce, one could claim spousal support. What that mean is that a percentage of your income goes to support the other even when you are no more married! But if you do not have an income that matches what percentage could be garnished, you’re free of such support.
“The medical doctor chose to be a cab driver where he only could determine his income declaration.”
He said if these set of people decide to come back to Nigeria, there is the tendency for the authorities to know that they had evaded their payments and could attract imprisonment. “So, most of them prefer to go underground rather than risk jail terms.”
While many other Nigerians were wandering the streets of London and New York, a nursing mother, Adeyinka Gbemisola, got a reprieve in court. Gbemisola, 45, had arrived in the UK on a visitor visa that permitted her to remain in the country till 2023, but not allowed to work.
According to a report by a magazine, Nigeria Abroad, a Manchester-based job agency, Local Care Force, became suspicious of Gbemisola after checking her CV and was unable to make contact with her referees.
According to the magazine, “the work documents she provided, upon investigations, it was discovered that she had previously worked illegally in the UK via another recruitment agency on £9 per hour and earned around £1,800.
Gbemisola was charged to court, where her lawyer, Joshua Bowker, argued that she had fled Nigeria from an abusive husband and had to obtain a fake UK resident’s card for a job in the care industry.
Gbemisola’s lawyer appealed to the judge to consider her, saying she took the chance “to put food on the table for her two kids, not to fund a lavish lifestyle,” and that her children would “suffer” if she was jailed.
Luckily for Gbemisola, the judge was persuaded by Gbemisola’s lawyer’s argument that she took the chance “to put food on the table for her two kids not to fund a lavish lifestyle,” and that her children would “suffer” if she was jailed.
Responding, the judge said that Gbemisola did what she did in order to earn money for her children, “but this must be taken seriously because those documents could have been used by someone with more sinister intentions to obtain work with vulnerable people and put them at risk.
“I take the view that you are clearly remorseful, have a realistic prospect of rehabilitation, are a full-time carer for your children and they would suffer greatly if you were to go to prison today.”
Gbemisola eventually got a six-month suspended sentence.
A suspended sentence, according to the magazine, places a defendant on probation and is likely to be discharged if the defendant does not break the law during the probation.
By Abankula/ PM NEWS
Almost three weeks after Nigerian doctorate student, Najeebat Sule was shot dead in Philadelphia, United States, the police remain clueless about the gunman.
No arrest has been made as the gunman remains at large.
Najeebat, a runner-up in Miss Nigeria International pageant in 2019, was shot by a lone gunman while sitting in her car, almost in front of her family’s home.
She was 24 and had just earned a Masters degree in public health at West Chester University.
She was pursuing a doctorate, reports said.
Reports said she was killed shortly before 6pm on March 12, just steps away from her residence in the 8800 block of Frankford Avenue.
Nearly three weeks later, police have not found a motive and have made no arrests, leaving Sule’s family and friends searching for answers.
Her parents are now also in hiding out of fear for their lives.
‘I can’t think of anything that would make anyone want to kill her,’ Sule’s close friend Habibat Magaji, told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Magaji was among the last people to have seen Sule alive before she was gunned down.
The two women had spent the night before at Magaji’s home, eating snacks and watching Netflix together.
Less than 24 hours later, Sule was sitting in her gray Toyota Corolla, exchanging text messages with Magaji, when an unidentified man walked up to the vehicle with a gun drawn and shot her several times.
Sule’s father, Adewale Sule, heard the gunfire and emerged from the house just in time to see the suspect fire the last of the shots at his daughter.
‘I saw the guy shooting my daughter. He shot the last round and I pursued him,’ said the father. ‘He ran back to his car.’
Najeet was rushed to Jefferson Torresdale Hospital, where she was pronounced dead about 30 minutes later.
Her mother, Tawakalitu Sule, said she last heard from Najeet less than two hours before the shooting, when her daughter asked her when she was going to be home.
‘All of my children have been crying every day because of their big sister. They really miss her. I miss my daughter,’ she said.
By Gowon Akpodonor/ GUARDIAN.NG
• Team Makes First Sea Voyage Since 1949
• Ahmed Musa, Gernot Rohr Speak
After two-hour voyage on the sea, players and officials of the Super Eagles landed in Porto Novo yesterday with a vow to cripple their host, Squirrels of Benin Republic in today’s games of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. The trip to Porto Novo through waterway from Lekki was the first time for the Super Eagles since their maiden predecessors, the famed UK Tourists, made a journey by sea from Lagos to Liverpool in August 1949.
The Nigerian contingent hit Porto Novo Jetty with much buzz, glitz and glitter yesterday afternoon in six boats.
Nigeria’s ambassador to Benin Republic, His Excellency Ambassador Olawale Awe, led mission staff to await the delegation and then accompanied the team and its officials to the Golden Tulip Hotel in Cotonou. The Super Eagles will ride by bus to Porto Novo this morning and return to the Golden Tulip after their clash with the Squirrels at the Stade Charles de Gaulle.
With three–pointer, Sierra Leone, scheduled to commence hostilities with bottom–placed Lesotho at 3pm GMT today, it means the match in southern Africa would have ended before Nigeria and Benin due to kick off at 6pm GMT. A draw in Maseru will ensure the Super Eagles are through to the finals in Cameroon.
However, the Eagles have vowed to cripple their host so as to make it a double over the Squirrels.
Team Captain Ahmed Musa said: “We are not looking at what happens in Lesotho. It is not necessary for us to bother ourselves with what they play. Our focus is to get the three points here in Porto Novo and wrap up qualification. Three points will get us to Cameroon no matter what anyone plays, and that is what we are determined to get.”
In November 2019, the Squirrels shocked the Eagles with a goal inside the first five minutes at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, before goals by Victor Osimhen and Samuel Kalu earned the Eagles all three points. The Eagles followed up with a 4-2 defeat of Lesotho in Maseru four days later to fly to the top of the pool, but drew in their home-and-away duels with Sierra Leone last year.
Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr said rediscovering winning mentality is important for the Eagles before going into the FIFA World Cup qualifying battles.
“I am keen for the winning mentality,” he said. “We need it very much and when we rediscover it, we must keep it.”
Qualification in Porto Novo today will guarantee Nigeria’s 19th appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations, having won three times, secured second spot (silver) four times and finished third (bronze) eight times in 18 previous participations.
The Super Eagles will be seeking their first victory in 497 days since they beat Lesotho 4-2 in Maseru in 2019. They have since gone four matches without a win, including throwing away a four-goal first have lead against Sierra Leone at home, according to Sports Village Square.
Nigeria were the opponents of Benin Republic (then called Dahomey) when they played their first ever international match on 8 November 1959.
Porto Novo, the venue of today’s AFCON qualifier was also the venue of the first ever Benin versus Nigeria match on November 8, 1959. Today’s game will be 21st encounter of both teams. Benin Republic have never beaten the Super Eagles in 20 preceding matches, with Nigeria winning 15 and drew five.
In total, Nigeria have scored 55 goals against Benin Republic. The scorer of the very first of the goals is Albert Onyeawuna in a Nigerian 1-0 triumph in Porto Novo in 1959.
The Presidency has dispelled rumoured rift between President Muhammadu Buhari and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
It described the rumour as a work of media mischief makers.
In a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the Presidency noted one of the reasons cited by authors of the rumour was the fact that Tinubu had not been frequently seen around President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The statement, however, explained Tinubu’s distance from the State House had not been as a result of is a friction between him and Buhari but because the former Lagos governor is not a cabinet minister.
“The Presidency wishes to make it clear that there is no rift between President Muhammadu Buhari and his strong ally, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“The President and the Asiwaju have a very strong commitment to the All Progressives Congress, APC towards bringing CHANGE and this is a commitment they have made to the Nigerian people.
“Recent reports of a rift between the two leaders of our party are false; the handiwork of some media mischief makers.
“It is quite unfortunate that certain sections of the media feed on birthing controversies, providing a nexus for naysayers who work behind the scenes planting such stories, which are absolutely false.
“This administration is aware of pessimists and cynics who willfully spread misinformation to create doubts in the minds of the people about the relationship between its leaders and whether the party will remain intact or not.
“There is no doubt that the President and the party are focused on development, peace and security, restructuring of the economy and war against corruption in the country and will not be diverted to anything else. This desperate attempt to fool the people will not succeed.
“To President Buhari, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu remains one of the most respected political leaders in the country, who has stuck to his principles in the face of all adversities.
“He was instrumental to the formation, growth and development of the APC into a formidable political party and the political alliance is waxing even stronger.
“If the Asiwaju is not a frequent face in the Aso Rock Villa, it is on account of the fact that he is not a cabinet member of this government. The fact that he is not every day around the Villa does not make him less of a friend to the President and this administration,” the statement reads.